10 Favorite {Grace-Filled} Resources for Making Real Life Work in a New Season


So, are you sinking or swimming as you’ve begun a new season? Or maybe you’re simply treading water and calling that a win?

Because on some days, not drowning is totally a win.

Most everyone has probably started back to school and is in the process of settling into new rhythms. We’re about a month in and I’m here to tell you, the eagerness and responsibility of new beginnings has already begun to wane.

Oh, I see you didn’t clean out your lunchbox yesterday and now that half-eaten apple has churned its own applesauce that’s settled nicely into the fabric piping and begun the fermentation process. Sure, just buy the cheeseburger plate today since the lunchbox that now smells like hard cider is actually the back-up lunchbox and your new lunchbox hasn’t turned up in the lost and found. Or so you claim.

True story and it’s only Tuesday.

Why do you think I needed to write this series? Because the Vischer family {and the mom who somehow got the this senior management position with no experience} is in serious need of grace as we settle into our own new rhythms.

In case you missed the series or some of the posts, here they are all together.

Grace in the New Rhythms. Part 1. 

Part 2. What’s Your Real Motivation for Wanting to Be Awesome?

Part 3. Know Your Own Life and Walk in Freedom.

Part 4. How to Manage Your Days When You’re “Type-ADD” Instead of Type A

Part 5. 4 Reasons Why Failure is Your Friend

I also thought it would be fun and helpful to provide some resources that may bring further encouragement as we order our days, manage our families, and keep the plates spinning. Here you go:


Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung


I mentioned this book last year in a series I did on busy-ness and priorities. I cannot recommend it enough. And it’s so short, which means you can definitely fit it into your crazy busy life. And if you can’t? Well, you might be too busy.


Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine


I received a review copy of this book when I attended the Allume Conference last year. When January rolled around and I was feeling all resolution-ish, I read the book from cover to cover in a day. I’m wary of “systems” and one-size-fits-all ways of doing life. But this book isn’t that at all. It’s straightforward inspiration and real-life hacks about doing life on purpose. For me, I finished the book feeling inspired and empowered rather than discouraged and guilty. Love it when that happens.


And for those of you who homeschool, The Type B Homeschool Planner: The Planner for the Rest of Us by Sarah Mae.


Can I get an “Amen” for the title of this book? Where was this planner when I homeschooled?

There’s no shortage of “how-to-run-your-homeschool-like-a-boss” products geared toward well-meaning parents. And they are fine and good if you are naturally wired with military DNA. I am not. And I always felt like a failure when I tried to do school the way someone else did school and it didn’t work for me. I haven’t actually purchased or used Sarah Mae’s Type B planner. I simply love the title and the concept. I’d totally buy it if I was still homeschooling.


A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman


I’m sort of cheating by throwing this one in the mix because it’s not about organization or new rhythms. BUT…the Kindle version is only $1.99 right now! I’d be a fool to not let you know about it because it’s one of the favorite books on my bookshelf.

And it is actually a perfect book to read right now as we’re knee-deep in the routines of laundry and dinner, carpool and work. This book challenges the notion that only the painters and the poets are the real artists, that only the creatives can offer beauty into the world. The truth is, we’re all artists. We all have something lovely and unique to offer the world whether we’re folding the clothes or stirring the soup or teaching the students. Just writing these words makes me want to pick it up and read it again. {You can read my review of it here.}


And finally, this book that inspired an entire post which gets at our real motivations for wanting to be awesome and then hating ourselves when we come up short. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy by Timothy Keller.


It will take you 30-45 minutes to read. And then you’ll pick it up and read it again and again because it’s that important.


How to Make a Meal Plan That Will Save Your Life and Make You Pretty.


Kendra is hi-larious and an actual baker and I think this very real-life, you-be-you approach to meal planning is just perfect. Plus it makes you pretty so there’s that.

And then there’s this post I wrote about how I do groceries and meals. I am not an actual baker but it’s also very real-life and you-be-you. It works for us. And Shannan Martin told me she does groceries and meals almost the same way so there you go. I’ll count that as an unofficial testimonial.

meal plan


And if you’d like to follow my “What’s for Dinner?” or “Soup” pinboards, here you go.

Follow Marian’s board What’s for Dinner on Pinterest.

Follow Marian’s board Soup on Pinterest.

Most of the meals are things that I’d actually make and that my kids would hopefully eat, not to be confused with the stuff I would like to make in a perfect world with a limitless food budget for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and the organic farmer’s market and kids who will eat quinoa and sushi.



“The Calendar.” We’re now on our second school-year with this $5 gem of a lifesaver. It’s the only thing on the front of our fridge. Ours is from Staples in the Martha Stewart section. I write our meals for the week along the bottom and just that simple act makes me feel like I’ve got a plan.

photo (37)

I found this one on amazon and I kind of like it better since it has more room. It’s half-price right now and $9.99. Seeing just one week at a time is helpful for me and I feel less overwhelmed than when I’ve tried a “month at a glance.” Seriously, how do you “glance” at a month. A month is 30 whole days. Call me a wimp but a month needs full fledged digestion. Like, sit down and study all of those many days with a cup of coffee. A week is glance-able.



This series from last year here on the blog. It’s a series about time, margin, and opportunity cost.

Sidebar Button - A Time Final

And finally, I loved this post by The Nester on rhythms and routines and why knowing the difference is important.



I hope that maybe just one of these posts or books will provide help and encouragement in this new season. As always, I heartily welcome your ideas and resources that help your stay on track. Or at least adjacent to the track.

And now, a Seasonal Blessing:

May your fall bring fresh perspective. May your rhythms remain steady and grace-filled. And may your lunch-boxes not smell like beer.



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  1. Maureen says

    Marian my friend! This was wonderful! I am sitting in a kids hair waiting for Ava to finish her hair cut reading your gem of a blog. And literally laughing out loud. Ava keeps giving me stern side way glances across the salon begging me to stop. Oh sweet heart, that fall blessing is the best! Miss you!!


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